Shouse’s seven goals se­cure ti­tle

LOUDON VAL­LEY 17, W. ALBE­MARLE 11

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY DIL­LON MUL­LAN dil­lon.mul­lan@wash­post.com

lynch­burg, va. — In the open­ing min­utes of the Vir­ginia 4A boys’ lacrosse cham­pi­onship, West­ern Albe­marle goalie Jack­son Sours looked un­beat­able. The ju­nior flashed a quick stick to deny Loudoun Val­ley’s first three shot at­tempts, in­clud­ing an ac­ro­batic, leap­ing save that de­nied a two-man break­away.

But Vik­ings at­tack­man Mikey Shouse dis­cov­ered a weak­ness — shoot low from in close. The se­nior re­lent­lessly moved with­out the ball to get him­self open on the crease and fin­ished the game with seven goals, all from right on Sours’s doorstep, as Loudon Val­ley cap­tured the state ti­tle with a 17-11 victory at Lib­erty Uni­ver­sity.

“All four years have been like that,” Shouse said. “I like to move more off ball than with the ball. De­fend­ers turn their heads, my play­ers make a good look, easy goal.”

Af­ter fall­ing be­hind 2-0, Shouse put Loudoun Val­ley (19-4) on the board late in the first quar­ter. From there, the Vik­ings’ of­fense em­barked on an 8-2 run in which Shouse com­pleted a first-half hat trick that helped build an 8-4 half­time lead.

In an ef­fort to avoid the heat, Val­ley re­treated to its team bus dur­ing half­time, and the of­fense cooled off ac­cord­ingly in the third quar­ter as West­ern Albe­marle (15-5) cut the deficit to 9-7 head­ing into the fourth.

“Af­ter they went on a run in the third, we knew that we had more depth, we knew we could run them,” said se­nior mid­fielder Sully Warner, who fin­ished the game with two goals and five as­sists. “We’d run too many sprints to give this up.”

In the fourth, Val­ley picked apart a tired de­fense that was un­able to keep up with the con­stant mo­tion of its of­fense. The Vik­ings scored four unan­swered goals in the quar­ter’s open­ing four min­utes as Shouse’s off-ball move­ment and Warner’s pre­ci­sion pass­ing over­whelmed the War­riors.

Shouse scored his sixth and sev­enth goals of the con­test from point-blank range on as­sists from Warner to give Val­ley its largest lead at 15-8 as the Vik­ings sealed their first boys’ lacrosse state ti­tle.

“We took pride in all the work weput in this year,” Warner said. “We were lift­ing and run­ning sprints ear­lier this week, but we didn’t hate it, we loved it. That’s why we had so much suc­cess.”

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